Last Updated on 15th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
Truth be told, one of my favourite things about visiting Champagne is discovering small and independent wineries producing the sparkling tipple. And my personal favourite when it comes to visiting a Champagne House is Gounel Lasalle, which is located in Chigny-les-Roses.
Chigny-les-Roses is a Premier Cru Village. It is one of 44 such Premier Cru Villages. Only Champagne made in one of the designated areas is allowed to have ‘Premier Cru’ written on the bottle. Chigny-les-Roses is located around halfway between Reims and Epernary (the Champagne capital).
The village itself is a pretty delightful Champagne settlement of around 500 inhabitants. Other highlights of the village (other than Champagne tasting) includes a church dedicated to Saint-Nicolas and a calvary.
A history of Champagne Gounel Lassalle
Arnaud Gounel and his wife Sophie are Champagne producers with the kind of enthusiasm and knowledge that makes you want to learn more about the techniques, fermentations, and processes of Champagne making (even the more complex methods).
Arnaud is a fourth generation Champagne maker in the heart of the Montagne of Reims, which is the area that is primarily used for Champagne making. The grapes are grown over 29 plots which each have their own unique ‘climat’ (weather/ position which affects the resulting grapes).
Gounel Lassalle is currently transforming their plots to AB (organic), a process which takes three years.
Visiting Gounel Lassalle
Gounel Lassalle is open on a daily basis, including on a Sunday (which isn’t alway the case when it comes to Champagne houses). The shop is open from 10 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 6 PM from Monday through to Saturday and by appointment on Sunday.
We personally started our visit with a trip down to the cellars, where previous years’ Champagnes are stored, and which are located below the shop/ tasting room. There is also the oak barrel room, where the previous year’s harvest is currently being fermented.
I found that Arnaud and Sophie were more than willing to answer any questions that we had about the wine making process, and we learned a lot about the double fermentation process that I hadn’t heard anywhere else. Our cellar visit was followed by a trip back upstairs to sample the sparkling wine.
Champagne Gounel Lassalle currently offer four different Champagnes. The best-seller is the Brut Premier Cru, though they also sell a Brut Nature Premier Cru (with no added sugar), a Cuvée Fut Premier Cru, and a Brut Millésime (Millésimes have to be aged for at least three years before being called as such).
I personally bought half a case of bottles as I thought that the price/ quality ratio was pretty great. Champagne bottles bought on site start from just under €25 a bottle. For more Champagne inspiration, be sure to check out our top facts about Champagne and our suggested itinerary for Champagne.
Another drink which is made in Champagne that I had never tasted before is Ratafia. This is a liqueur made from the juice that runs from the grape must that remains once the Champagne has been run. The Ratafia is then fortified with a grape brandy, making a liqueur that is around 18%.
Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.